Nation Ford shortstop Aliyah Carey applies a tag to a Catawba Ridge runner during their game Tuesday night. Photo by Rob Upton

A four-run rally in the top of the seventh inning was just enough fire power for Nation Ford to edge Catawba Ridge Tuesday evening.

Nation Ford beat the Copperheads 6-5 to improve to 9-6 on the season, while Catawba Ridge fell to 13-4 overall with the loss. Falcons’ head coach Craig Brown said his team wasn’t going to go down without a fight.

“There is a lot of fight in this team,” Brown said. “The girls really didn’t want to lose.”

The Falcons came out swinging and struck first scoring two runs in the top of the first inning as they rattled off four hits.  Emma Skovran and Sydney Johnson each singled to open the game and then Olivia Southerly would double to drive in a run. Johnson would score on an error to help Nation Ford in the early going as well.

Catawba Ridge starter Chloe Burger settled down and cruised through the next five innings without giving up a hit, and got the run support she needed but it wouldn’t be enough.

The Copperheads came back in the bottom of the second and scored two runs on a hit from Sophia Barr and a wild pitch from Falcons’ starter Jamison Noonan. Noonan stayed in command of her pitches for the majority of the game and allowed just one hit through four innings.

The fifth and sixth innings were important for the Copperhead offense as they scored three runs on five hits in the two innings to take a 5-2 lead. Janelle Ilacqua would go 2-4 in the game with a double and two RBI to lead Catawba Ridge. The Copperheads struggled at times at the plate in laying down bunts and made mental mistakes on the base paths that cost them.  Catawba Ridge also made four errors in the field as well.

“We couldn’t make plays,” said Catawba Ridge head coach Michael Kidd. “We couldn’t bunt the ball. We missed on three key points to win a game.”

Nation Ford finally got to Burger in the top of the seventh as they scored three runs to take the lead on five hits. The Falcons were also aided by two errors in the inning from the Copperheads.

Aliyah Carey singled to start the inning off for the Falcons.  Skovran would single as well before Johnson would drive in Carey and Madison Arnold would get a sacrifice to have Nation Ford pull within one scoring Skovran. Johnson tied the game scoring on an error and Southerly would reach on an error before being driven in by Ava Scheier, who knocked in the eventual game winner on a single.

“We hit the ball well,” Brown said. “Catawba Ridge is a really good team.”

Noonan was able to get out of the bottom of the seventh inning despite allowing two base runners and secure the win. Skovran, Johnson and Southerly all got two hits each for Nation Ford.

Nation Ford now turns its attention back to its Region 3-5A schedule as they travel to Gaffney Thursday. Catawba Ridge will host Lancaster today in an important Region 3-4A game.


Fort Mill girls’ soccer beat Boiling Spring 4-0 to improve to 7-5 overall and 2-2 in Region 3-5A. The Catawba Ridge girls’ soccer team beat Lancaster 19-0 to improve to 9-0 and 7-0 in Region 3-4A. The Nation Ford girls’ soccer team beat Rock Hill 6-2 in non-region action to improve to 10-2 overall.

In boys’ soccer, the Copperheads beat Lancaster 3-0 to clinch the Region 3-4A title. The team also moved to No. 7 in the nation as they improved to 7-0 in the region and 15-0-2 overall.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep